Youth Exchange “Youth For Social Change” in Varna, Bulgaria

Youth For Social Change is a youth exchange project that was held in Varna between 27th September and 3rd of October 2019.

Main Goals of the Youth Exchange

Through the project Youth for Social Change, we addressed the issue of insufficient available information about social entrepreneurship and the way to launch a social enterprise, given that it is recognized as one of the main barriers for youngsters to do so. The main objectives of this project were to provide youngsters with useful information about social entrepreneurship and entrepreneurship in general and to raise their awareness about social matters.

Moreover, this youth exchange was designed with the purpose to provide the participants with useful skills and competencies for setting up a social company, and useful tools to get assistance and means of doing so, as well as helping them acquire different soft skills and knowing oneself better. Another aim of the project was to foster European citizenship and active participation among the participants themselves as well as among the society in Spain, Georgia, and Bulgaria. The project put a special focus on the inclusion of people in a disadvantaged situation especially youth with lower income, educational needs or NEET(Not in Education, Employment, or Training).

What Were the Activities During the Project?

For 7 days, 22 people from Spain, Georgia, and Bulgaria who participated in the youth exchange lived and worked together on the topic of social entrepreneurship. Each country had at least one participant facing a disadvantaged situation lack of education, a low socioeconomic background or NEET. All participants had an interest in entrepreneurship in general and in social entrepreneurship. The activities included non-formal education methods like role-plays, team-building games, presentations, workshops, simulations, actions with the local community, discussions, democratic participation, reflection sessions. 

What Were the Results of the Youth Exchange?

As a result of the project, participants gained and improved their already existing skills in the field of social entrepreneurship. They have gathered information about good practices, how to make a business plan, where to find funding, how to promote it, what are the challenges etc. They also acquired and improved many soft skills such as communication in English, communication in the mother tongue, initiative, mathematical skills, digital skills, cultural awareness, civic competences, learning to learn. The participating organizations acquired new tools, teaching methods and experience in the field of social entrepreneurship. They were able to improve their competences on organizing youth exchanges as well as working with youth in a disadvantaged situation.

Organizations that work with youngsters in a disadvantaged situation were able to see their work from a new perspective and admitted they will now include new methods in their everyday routine. Their respective communities in Varna, Gandia, Zugdidi can gain awareness about the effect of social entrepreneurship and how it can help to solve social challenges. This, in the long run, will motivate more people to start their own social business, to be more active citizens and to contribute to the solution of today’s challenges. All participants and their organizations have received valuable information about Erasmus + in general and its role for the education of the youth and were given the opportunity to promote the information in their countries. This will lead to the inclusion of more people as participants in the program.